Nature Notes

Before the industrial era, the month of August was the busiest time of year. Everyone had to get to work harvesting cereals, wheats, oats, barley and rye. Today, wheeled machines stalk the fields and do all the graft, while we go on holiday. How times have changed. As the fields are being harvested the birds prepare for migration and will quiet their singing this month, moulting feathers and saving energy for the long passages ahead. But waders, warblers and flycatchers are on the wing, passing through from the Artic and beginning to scuttle on our wetlands and beaches. In the meadows inland, this is the best time of year to spot dragonflies, damselflies and reptiles. And with the harvest underway, our kitchens are now in full swing with abundant fruits of the hedgerows: cherry plums, wild strawberries, blackberries and gooseberries are all ripe. In our gardens, vegetables such as tomatoes, french beans, cucumbers, potatoes and sweetcorn are ready. Indeed, August is the time for enjoying a holiday and some good eating, so go sprinkle basil over your ripe tomatoes and enjoy the gifts – tu le vaux bien!

September brings us mists and familiar golden foliage on the trees, which tells us our days are getting shorter. However, temperatures can be similar to the month of June, with summer hanging on for a while longer – a so-called “Indian Summer”. The origin of this phrase is unresolved, but first used in eastern USA and could refer to the warm conditions that allowed Native American Indians to continue hunting into autumn. The second half of September often brings strong winds and it will be time to move tender plants indoors. Planting bulbs at this time, such as daffodils, muscari, crocus and hyacinths will bring colourful delights when early spring comes. Meantime, the birdsong in the countryside is quieting as most birds are on the wing to their southern climes, but if you live near the great estuaries, pick up your binoculars to spot some oystercatchers. These waders fly in from the Faroe Islands and at this time of year their largest gathering is in Lancashire’s Morecambe Bay. September is also the month of fruits: apples, pears, blackberries and plums will all be ripe and ready for our sweet, savoury and succulent pies!

Positive Ecological Restoration News

Oil companies cancel their leases in Alaska’s arctic wildlife refuge
Ecowatch reports that oil companies are now pulling out of drilling in the famous Artic Wildlife refuge, the world’s heritage of pristine wilderness and homeland of the polar bear. The area is also considered sacred by the Indigenous Gwich’in people. “These exits clearly demonstrate that international companies recognise what we have known all along: drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not worth the economic risk and liability that results from development on sacred lands without the consent of Indigenous Peoples,” reported the Gwich’in steering committee. Indigenous activists, always at the forefront of climate activism in large wilderness regions, said they would keep pressurising any remaining lease holders. Today, experts are hinting that further fossil fuel exploration in the refuge is unlikely.

Endangered salmon make a return in California
After having disappeared for two decades, the Coho salmon have managed to reach their ancestral spawning grounds due to increased water flows. Ayano Hayes, the biologist for the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), discovered the Coho salmon this year. “It is amazing to see these giant two-foot fish in the small inlets, some that are no wider than six feet. This is extremely exciting and is the result of big storms that have allowed the Coho salmon to manoeuvre through culverts under roads that are a barrier to migration under lower flows,” Hayes said.

World’s largest carbon removal facility starts in Iceland
The plant named Orca (meaning energy in Icelandic) can remove 4000 tonnes of CO₂ from the air each year. The captured carbon dioxide is dissolved in water and buried into the earth. This is the largest carbon removal facility in the world. It was constructed by a Swiss company called Climeworks. Filters inside this machine capture and collect carbon dioxide. Iceland provides the safest storage system as “the underground basaltic rock formations in Iceland provide the ideal conditions for this process, providing a permanent solution for CO₂ storage,” said the company.


UK’s new “Super Reserve” in Somerset leads the way
The Somerset Wetlands nature reserve will help restore ecosystems that encompass a large region of coastal plains, fens, reedbeds and saltmarshes. This protected wetland area in Somerset can enhance biodiversity and also reduce carbon emissions. “Research is showing it’s at this scale that we can have a real impact and harness the potential of ‘nature-based solutions’ which allow natural ecosystems to help address the climate and biodiversity crisis,” writes Dr Christian Dunn, senior lecturer in natural sciences, Bangor University.

Sky Events

The last of the three super moons occurs on the 12th, named the lynx moon or the grain moon. On the 13th, the Perseids Meteor Shower will reach their peak and bringing us 60 meteors per hour. For best viewing, look towards the constellation of Perseus at night. On the 14th, Saturn will be visible in the night sky, and if you have a telescope or a good pair of binoculars you should be able to spot the famous rings. During the new moon on the 27th, the planet Mercury will be at its highest point just above the western horizon at dusk.

On the 10th we have the harvest moon rising, sometimes called the wine moon or the song moon. Neptune can be visible with a telescope on the 16th. The 23rd brings the Equinox, the time when we have equal amounts of day and night throughout the world, indicating the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the South. Jupiter will be revealed on the 26th and shine throughout the night. If you have a telescope with relative power, you should also be able to detect Jupiter’s many moons.


Spring: 13th–15th and 29th–31st
Neap: 6th–8th and 21st–22nd

Spring: 11th–13th and 27th–29th
Neap: 5th–6th and 19th–20th

Andreas Kornevall is a Swedish storyteller, writer and ecologist. He is the Director of Operations for the Earth Restoration Service Charity based in the UK

More Like This

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.